Two Casualties From Iowa

The Iowa Straw Poll, a non-binding popularity contest where the candidates literally buy their votes, claimed two victims this past weekend. Governor Tim Pawlenty has decided to suspend his campaign after finishing a distant third. And I have proven that my ability to predict Republican candidates is just slightly worse than my golf game.

My June 9th post predicted that Tim Pawlenty would be the Republican nominee. Several of my Repub friends had doubts, but they were hoping that I was correct. These guys weren’t part of some Pawlenty Fan Club. (Is there a Pawlenty Fan Club?) No, they were looking ahead to the general election and searching for a Republican ex-governor, not named Romney, that could win in November 2012.

Winning in November is not a universally shared goal. Each party has a core group that is more interested in being right than in winning elections. The Democrats had Senator John Glenn who many thought could win the 1984 presidential election, but had no chance in the primaries. This, of course, may be the only time Tim Pawlenty is mentioned in the same sentence as John Glenn.

So as Texas Governor Rick Perry enters the race and Pawlenty and I leave, I ask you to opine whether the Republicans will choose a candidate that appeals to just the base or if President Obama will face a challenger also capable of attracting the independent voters.

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